Lymphoma Treatments

Physicians today have a number of options regarding how they approach lymphoma, depending on the specific type, stage and grade of the tumor or tumors, as well as other clinical prognostic factors.

For instance, radiation therapy alone may be used when the lymphoma is localized and has not yet spread to other parts or of the body. More severe cases may require intensive chemotherapy, using a single drug or a combination of drugs. Chemotherapy tends to work best for treating fast growing and aggressive tumors.

Occasionally, for certain types of advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, where the patient has failed to respond to other approaches, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation may be used.

Treatment for lymphomas may involve a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In some cases, no treatment is given if the patient shows no symptoms. This strategy is often called watchful waiting.

New Developments For A Lymphoma Cure: Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies (MAb) were first used to treat lymphomas around eight years ago and were developed originally for the treatment of low-grade tumors.

Encouraging results have led to a new wave of clinical trials involving the study of monoclonal antibody treatments and the use of peripheral blood progenitor cells to boost the immune systems of patients being treated with high dose chemotherapy.

The idea behind therapy with monoclonal antibodies is to specifically target cancer cells and “flag” them so as to assist the host’s immune system in finding and eradicating the malignant cells. A further development is the use of specific monoclonal antibodies bound to radioisotopes. The aim is to deliver radiation directly to the tumor. This produces a two-prong attack on the neoplasm, from both the immune system response triggered by the MAb, and from the delivery of a high concentration of radiation directly on the tumor. This new development may bring us one step closer to a lymphoma cure.

Resources

Mack, M.T., Cozen, W., Shibata, D. K., Weiss, L. M., Nathwani, B. N., Hernandez, A. M., Taylor, C. R., et al. (1995, February 16). Concordance for Hodgkin’s disease in identical twins suggesting genetic susceptibility to the young-adult form of the disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 332(7), 413-419.

People Living With Cancer. (nd). Hodgkin lymphoma: Risk factors. Retrieved April 14, 2003, from www.peoplelivingwithcancer.org/plwc/MainConstructor/1,1744,_04- 0075-00_12-001043-00_17-001029-00_18-0025933-00_19-000-00_2 0-001-00_21-008,00.html.

People Living With Cancer. (nd). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma:Risk factors and prevention. Retrieved April 14, 2003, from www.peoplelivingwithcancer.org/plwc/MainConstructor/1,1744,_04- 0076-00_12-001043-00_17-001029-00_18-0025939-00_19-000-00_2 0-001-00_21-008,00.html.

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